Meet The Team – Michele Antonini


Over the coming days and weeks, we thought it would be nice to introduce ourselves in a little more detail. The Grabau International team is a close-knit group with many decades of experience between us. We all have an interesting story to tell about how we got here and what we get up to away from the office, so we have put 10 questions to each of the team.

In this instalment, we talk to Grabau International Italia’s – Michele Antonini.

1.) What is your position within the business?

My name is Michele Antonini and I run Grabau International Italia! We focus on the brokerage of sailing and motor yachts with our primary focus being on those yachts lying in and around Italy. We also manage and act as a liaison for a number of the Italian yachting brands that we are proud to represent including Italia Yachts, Luca Brenta Yachts, Rizzardi Yachts, and the PGYD Forte 50 project, as well as representing Hylas Yachts in Italy. Grabau International Italia is based in the historic city of Florence which thanks to its central position within Italy, allows quick and easy coverage of the whole of the country.

2.) When did you first get into boating?

Like the rest of the Grabau International team, I was introduced to sailing as a young child, sailing aboard my family’s Dufour 2800. We would sail all around Italy’s East Coast and then across the Adriatic to spend summers in Croatia. Back in the early 1990s, Croatia was a country yet to be filled with the marinas and charter boats you see today, so it was quite the adventure!

3.) Your favourite yachting moment?

As I have been around yachts for all of my life, there are so many moments to choose from. I guess competing in the 2019 Rolex Fastnet aboard the newly-launched Baltic Yachts 67 ‘LURIGNA’ must stand out as a particular highlight. On a slightly more relaxing front, sailing a beautiful 50ft carbon fibre performance cruiser from Sardinia to Tuscany was another big highlight. The trip was delivery for a good friend, but with just myself and my wife aboard and with amazing summer weather, we spent a week relaxing in the beautiful bays of Elba Island. Yacht brokerage is very hard work, but there are some perks!

4.) How did you get into the yacht brokerage industry?

After graduating in Law, I started out as a trainee lawyer, spending my spare time helping boat owners move their yachts around Italy. I soon decided to seek out some more opportunities that would allow me to spend time surrounded by the things I loved the most. After winning a scholarship for a Business Masters, I found employment with one of Italy’s best-known custom yacht builders where I took charge of marketing and communication as well as working to structure the new sales network and brokerage opportunities within the shipyard. Through this that I started working with Grabau International and when an opportunity arose to join the team and look after the busy Italian market, it was an easy decision to make. As some may know, the Italian brokerage world can operate quite differently from the rest of Europe, so having attended the world-renowned ABYA (Association of Brokers & Yacht Agents) Brokers Course, I was able to build up an understanding of both systems, placing me in a unique position to professionally assist buyers and sellers coming in or out of Italy.

5.) What would you do if you weren’t a yacht broker?

I guess I would continue my practicing of the Law and work hard to fund my yachting passion and buy time afloat.

6.) What sailing/boating are you doing at the moment?

My plan has always been to buy a yacht to sail with my wife. she is the ‘real’ sailor in the family having for many years competed in the Laser classes at world championship level, before going on to study Naval Architecture in Southampton and work in the design for some of the most forward-thinking performance sailing yachts. In reality, we seem to spend most of our spare time sailing with friends aboard their own yachts and competing in various races around Italy, so perhaps the yacht purchase will have to wait a little while longer.

7.) What do you get up to away from the office?

I am a very keen runner, which helps me to keep in shape around the office hours and travelling. In the summer (when not on the water), I also enjoy mountain biking in the beautiful Tuscany countryside. Like many Italians, as soon as winter comes, I head to the slopes. I am lucky that the Abetone ski resort is less than 2hrs drive from Florence, so I can breakfast by the Piazza della Signoria, spend the day on the slopes and be home to enjoy a plate of homemade pasta and glass of Bolgheri for dinner.

8.) If you were to ‘sell up and sail away’, what boat would you choose?

This is very hard to say. There are so many really beautiful boats around that I would love to own, from classic alloy construction to modern lightweight carbon fibre speed machines. If I had to pick just one, I would probably choose the Baltic 50 like ‘MELISSA’. I am a big fan of all Baltic Yachts and with the semi-custom built 50, there were just 11 built, each one with a different layout and story attached.

9.) Pick five of your favourite current GI listings and tell us why?

That’s a good question! The Wallynono MkII ‘PILGRIM’ would be the perfect day cruiser around Elba Island, I think she can make you feel like the Count of Monte Cristo and my wife would be more than happy to enjoy her performance! Second would be a Baltic 38 DP ‘BOLERO’ as she is hull No.1 of one of the most iconic Baltic Yachts designs from the late Doug Petersen and would make for the perfect twin-handed cruiser below 12 metres. Next, I would pick the Vismara V50 ‘MISTRESS’ as she has proven herself to be almost unbeatable in club racing events and summer regattas. As a liveaboard performance cruiser, I think it is hard to match the Vismara Frers Custom 80 ‘WHITE DUMBO’. With her telescopic keel, she can reduce draft to just 2.4m and sneak into all of best anchorages, while stretching her legs in the mid-ocean in full 4.0m draft mode. When the wind drops, there is no doubt that a Maxi Dolphin MD51 ‘GIOIA’ is the must-have for the summer in Sardinia. Having recently sold one of her sisterships, I really appreciate the design and engineering in this semi-custom line, of which GIOIA is the latest version.

10.) What is your plan for the rest of 2020.

As many will know, Italy was one of the first countries in Europe to suffer badly from COVID-19. The Italian attitude has remained very positive and I have been very busy dealing with new enquiries and buyers who are keen to get on the water as soon as physically possible. There seems to be a real feeling that it is time to enjoy life more and for many, this means the freedom of being at sea.

If you would like to discuss your yacht sale or purchase plans, in or around Italy and the Adriatic, Michele would be delighted to hear from you. He can be contacted at or tel +39 333 74 89281.


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